The D-Backs have acquired reliever Carlos Vargas from the Guardians, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Minor league pitcher Ross Carver has been dealt to Cleveland in return. Cleveland has since formally announced the move.
Vargas, 23, missed the first three-plus months of the season finishing off his rehab from a Tommy John procedure he underwent in April 2021. He’s yet to make his big league debut, and the Guards optioned him to Double-A Akron upon reinstating him from the 60-day IL this summer. The hard-throwing righty struggled through 24 1/3 innings there, pitching to a 4.81 ERA with an unsightly 21-to-12 K/BB ratio.
Cleveland still bumped Vargas to Triple-A for the final few weeks of the season, and the results were night-and-day. Vargas carved up Triple-A opposition to the tune of a 0.90 ERA in 10 innings. After fanning just 19.3% of his opponents in Double-A, he punched out a ridiculous 39% (16 of 41) of the opponents he faced in Triple-A. Scouting reports on Vargas will praise an upper-90s heater that can reach triple digits and an inconsistent slider that has the potential to be a plus offering if all breaks right.
Carver, also 23, split his time between High-A and Double-A in 2022, faring quite well in the former (3.10 ERA, 81 1/3 innings) but getting absolutely tattooed with the latter (9.50 ERA, 38 innings). The former 20th-round pick gives Cleveland a recent draftee (2021, 20th round) with a starter’s repertoire they can hope to develop through through one of the game’s top pitching development factories.
Broadly speaking, however, the move was primarily about opening a 40-man roster spot the Guardians, while the D-backs — in more need of bullpen help than Cleveland — will roll the dice on a power arm with spotty command and some recent injury troubles.